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The Week in Reviews, Op. 18: Anthony Marwood debuts Samuel Adams' Violin Concerto, plus the return of the 'Lipinski' Strad

Robert Niles

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Published: February 11, 2014 at 10:50 PM [UTC]

In an effort to promote the coverage of classical music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world. We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended, too. Or just tell us what you think about these reviews!

Samuel Adams Anthony Marwood
Samuel Adams, left, and Anthony Marwood

Anthony Marwood debuted Samuel Adams' new Violin Concerto with the Berkeley Symphony

  • San Jose Mercury News: "Attending its world premiere Thursday at Zellerbach Hall was like riding on a sound cloud: There, high above, was the solo violinist, spinning long lyric lines that twist and fan out like kite ribbons; and there, way down below, was the orchestra, a landscape of gentle surges and eddies and strategic colorized plumes, drifting up toward the kite."
  • San Francisco Chronicle: "Adams' concerto, commissioned by the orchestra, bristles with so much inventive and surprising material that you can immerse yourself in it happily without knowing where you are in the process."
  • San Francisco Classical Voice: "As realized by Music Director Joana Carneiro and soloist Anthony Marwood, the work challenges traditional concerto expectations and reveals a creator with a decidedly original voice."

Nikolaj Znaider performed and conducted Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Cleveland Symphony

  • The Plain Dealer: " his local debut on the podium Thursday, Znaider proved surprisingly adept, if not equal to Boulez, at handling an orchestra," and, "Mozart as Znaider played it was impossible not to enjoy."

Anne-Sophie Mutter performed the Dvořák with the London Symphony Orchestra

  • The Guardian: "Mutter (who was stuck in traffic) made it to the Barbican in time to play the Dvořák Concerto in the second half with exceptional expressive grace and sweetness of tone."
  • Financial Times: "Mutter, as always, found marvels of expression in the concerto. Can the slow movement ever have been played with a tone so tender and withdrawn, as though revealing some long-lost romantic secret? Mutter remains a truly first-class draw."

Gidon Kremer performed with the Weinberg Concertino Kremerata Baltica in Chicago

  • Chicago Tribune: "Kremer seized the spotlight once more for Shostakovich's 1968 Violin Sonata, performed here in an arrangement for string orchestra and percussion by Mikhail Zinman and Andrei Pushkarev that effectively turns this late work, written for David Oistrakh, into a third Shostakovich violin concerto....I'm not certain that this reworking, well made though it is, is true to the composer's musical intentions in this despairing late work."

Frank Almond performed a recital with pianist William Wolfram at Milwaukee's Wilson Center for the Arts. It was his first concert reunited with the 'Lipinski' Strad, which had been stolen from him Jan. 27 and recovered last week.

  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Frank played "a program of pieces that are tied to the violin's 300-year history, including the 'Devil's Trill,' by Giuseppe Tartini, the first owner of the violin, and the 'Caprice for violin solo, Op. 29 No. 3' by Karol Lipinski, for whom the violin is named."

Stefan Jackiw performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

  • NUVO: Mozart 5's "serenely moving Adagio...showed Jackiw at his best, delivering a well-controlled singing tone."

Alexander Kerr performed the Barber with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra

  • The Post and Courier: "Kerr plays on a 1715 Stradivarius with a sound at once sweet and robust. He has a gorgeous tone and an admirable tendency to express phrases fully, with long bow strokes and an appealing, moderate vibrato."
  • Charleston City Paper: "Ah, the fabulous, frantic finale that skittered madly in seemingly perpetual motion through its brief course – and jolted the good-sized Sottile crowd to their feet in a clamorous standing O when it was over. The finale's orchestral parts were just about as virtuosic as the soloist's, and the musicians pulled it off with nary a hitch."

Giovanni Guzzo performed and conducted Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Manchester Camerata

  • Mancunian Matters: "(Guzzo) expertly led the orchestra through the finely balanced Allegro, his charisma shining through as they played the piece's rapturous Adagio before romping through to the playful Turkish-style final movement."

David Greed performed the Bruch with the York Guildhall Orchestra

  • The Press: "Soloist David Greed, who was the inaugural leader with Orchestra of Opera North, brought contemplative gravitas to the Prelude and Adagio."

Pekka Kuusisto performed the Adès with the Philharmonia Orchestra

  • The Telegraph: "The soloist was Pekka Kuusisto, the elfin Finnish violinist who surely has the most personal sound of any classical violinist now alive."

Lu Siqing performed the Mendelssohn with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

  • The Sydney Morning Herald: "Violinist Lu Siqing's performance of the Mendelssohn Concerto enthralled the audience with his technical facility notwithstanding its emotional reserve."

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 8:27 PM
Benjamin Beilman accompanied by Yekwon Sunwoo thrilled a full house at the St. John School of the Arts Cruz Bay St. John USVI Feb. 11th. Their program included Stravinsky's Divertimento from Le baiser de la fee, Tchaikovsky's Valse-Scherzo Op. 34 ,Swan Song a recently composed piece by their teacher at Curtis, David Ludwig , the Intermezzo from Schumann's F-A-E Sonata and a brilliant performance of Brahms Sonata for piano and violin in D minor Op.108.Following their encore of Kreisler's Liebesleid young Mr. Beilman informed the audience that he was playing the Guarneri del Gesu once owned by Kreisler. Wow! These two young men have been playing together since they were sixteen and it shows. What a great night in the tropics.

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